Place info

Mt Sefton

(12 routes)

Southern Alps Ka Tiritiri O Te Moana

  • 3151m



Southern Alps Ka Tiritiri O Te Moana

H36 716 207
BX15 616 591
Reference Name Grade Quality Length Comments Actions
  From the Frind Glacier, head up a gully onto a rock rib north of the Ngaroimata Falls, gaining height to reach the Donne Glacier. From here ascend northwards across the glacier under Sharks Teeth to reach Brunner Col. Cross the Col and drop onto the west side. Exposed and avalanche prone slopes under Brunner then give access to the Douglas Névé. From here ascend either the upper South Ridge or cross the névé to the West Ridge.

Otto Frind, Conrad Kain, Dick Young, Mar 1914.

  From Brunner Col traverse Mt Brunner onto the ridge. Ascend a prominent step and head on up a blocky rock ridge to a snow peak. Descend to a small col, then climb a steep rock buttress (traversable on the west), follow a snow arête and up a final step to the South Summit.

Stu Allan, Olly McCahon, Rob Rowlands, Brin Williman, Jan 1971.

  From Sefton Bivvy climb up and along under the Footstool Ridge. Crevasses may give trouble here. Then either climb directly or up the arête to Tuckett Col. From the Col ascend three prominent steps in the ridge to the summit. The rock is appallingly loose in the lower sections, but improves towards the top. Used on the first ascent of Sefton. In 1924 Frank Milne and Harold Porter ascended and descended the ridge in four hours. Now rarely climbed because of the poor rock.

Edward FitzGerald, Mattias Zurbriggen, Feb 1895.

3+ ,IV 4 3+
One or more images in route detail.

Long route (2200m of ascent), with rotten rock at the beginning and improving along the way, with sustained steep scrambling until circa 2500m of altitude, pitching of crux moves in places might be necessary even for good climbers. Steep until the glacier start (2500m), Crux moves at about Alpine UIAA grade V to VI- / French 5a to 5b.
It is a steep route with few opportunities for good belay to abseil down if used to descend making it a commited route (IV) with sustained steep downclimbing on greasy ground in places.

The route starts around 700m 15-20mins after the Douglas Rock Hut climbing left(East) of a fairly obvious ici gully (see picture), which requires a bit of bush bashing to be reached from the track.
The ascent is about 2200m going all the way to the summit thru steep (rock) slopes until flattening around 2500m of altitude where the glacier starts.

The route:
Route finding is ok in good weather but requires careful navigation in places, in foggy condition could require a GPS . Bear left (N-East side) until about 2200m, then going more rightwards (S West) to make for an easy way towards flatter ground as approaching the glacier level (2500m). The left (N East) side is a ridge which from circa 1500m is well defined by a shear drop on the whole of the N-East side all the way to the top. This obvious line could be used in case of tricky navigation conditions, the scramble alongside it, is regular and good rock overall.
The glacier features on average 40 to 55 degrees slopes, but really we felt the difficulties were rather in the rock scramble/climb before reaching the glacier. The first part of the scramble is fairly greasy and grassy with lots of loose rocks, not the most pleasant, then above 1700m it really improves while it still gets even steeper but the rock quality dramatically increases and giving you good grip, making for a much safer and faster scramble.

Bivvy likely required, for the route is long even in good conditions, even for a fairly fast party, especially since the glacier can turn out to be really broken with huge crevasses (it was the case for us).

snow stakes, ice screws, 50m rope, 2 axes, bivvy gears.

  1. Starting 15 minutes up the Copland Track from Douglas Rock Hut, this magnificent 2000m climb leads directly to the summit. Climb slabs on northern side of the Jasper Glacier Stream. The ridge then rises up a number of rock buttresses before flattening out and merging into a glacial bulge. Then ascend a vague snow rib to reach a shelf just below the summit. Above this either climb direct to the summit, or traverse south onto the West Ridge.

Bruce Harrison, Nick Von Tunzelmann, Aat Vervoorn, Dec 1964. Nick Cradock, 1991.

  The West Ridge of Mt Sefton from the Douglas Névé is a relatively straight forward 500m climb and is commonly used as a descent route. To reach the névé from the Copland Valley, the best route lies up Scott Creek. Surmount the waterfall on the western side (true L) using vegetated ledges and follow the creek, up and up, trending left. Beyond the bushline a rounded spur on the left can be gained (there are cairn-marked bivvy rocks and a stream in a small vegetated valley just north of the rounded spur) which ascends to a steeper craggy section followed by snowbasins. These in turn lead onto the ridge separating the Scott and Tekano Glaciers. Cross the Tekano Névé (watch for wet snow!) and ascend to Welcome Pass (2390m). From here follow the Sierra Range to where the West Ridge begins. Alternatively, from Welcome Pass use the Douglas Névé to access the West Ridge where it steepens. Beware of mist. Bivvying on Welcome Pass makes the summit day easier.

Jack Clarke, Laurence Earle, Alex Graham, Bernard Head, Mar 1912. Roland & N Rodda, Aug 1963.

Alex Palman
This place appears in: 
100 Peaks
Aoraki Mount Cook: a guide for mountaineers


Face East Face (6 routes)
Face North Face (1 route)
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